In 2011, Malawi produced more than 357,000 tons of bananas and 351,000 tonnes of plantains (FAOStat, 2013).
Banana is one of the crops under the Horticulture Commodity Group of the Department of Agricultural Research (DARS). Horticultural research is coordinated from Bvumbwe Research Station, which has the mandate of conducting research in horticultural crops. Other commodity teams are vegetables and spices, root and tuber crops, tree nuts and temperate fruits.
DARS has two functional tissue culture labs, one at Bvumbwe and another at Mkondezi Research station. Main functional plant pathology labs are at Bvumbwe Research Station including entomology and nematology as well as quarantine structures. Currently Misheck Soko (pathologist) is the only scientist working on bananas on a full time basis. This therefore means that only disease management aspects are being effectively addressed.